farmers' market

Farmers’ Market Shopping Guide

Farmers’ markets are a great way to find fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and more in your neighborhood. They allow you to interact directly with the grower, which can also mean lower prices for delicious produce. If you’ve never been to a farmers’ market before, or if you’re only starting to attend, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your time there.

Before you go

Get to know the local fruits and vegetables in your region and find out what grows in which season. This will help you identify the freshest produce. For example, you may see apples in April that you know have been in cold storage since October. Knowing when and what farmers grow locally will also allow you make a shopping plan beforehand for the best buys.

Meal planning before you shop is always a good idea, because it helps you save money. Figure out what you want to buy, but leave some room for a few unplanned purchases, just in case you find a new or unusual vegetable that you would like to try.

Hit up the ATM before you go. Having cash on hand will make it easier to make purchases at farmers’ markets. Don’t expect every vendor to have a mobile credit card reader. Carry small bills and some change to make exchanges go more quickly. Plus, cash can help you with bargaining, as well.

At the market

Go as soon as the market opens if you want to get the best produce. Items like meat and seafood, for instance, sell out very quickly. Going early will also help you avoid the large crowds. However, if you want the best deals, you should go at the end of the day. That’s when vendors are trying to sell off inventory instead of having to pack it up and transport it home.

Bring your own bags. Some, but not all of the vendors will offer a bag, but those bags are usually small and flimsy. Experienced shoppers will bring a backpack or small, wheeled cart to keep their hands free for things like squeezing produce.

Buying in bulk can save you some money. Many vendors are willing to give you a good deal if you’re willing to offload a crate of strawberries rather than just a baggie full, for example. Eat as many fresh fruits and veggies as you are able, and then freeze, dehydrate or can the rest.

There’s usually more than one vendor selling an item. Don’t buy everything from the first booth you see. Shop around. Try samples, if available. Once you’ve made the rounds and weighed your options, you’ll be able to make an informed decision based on price and taste.

Talk to the farmers. They can help you pick out the best items and teach you how to determine ripeness. Discuss how to best prepare their produce, as well. You may find a new recipe that you love.

And finally, stash a cooler in your car if you plan to shop a while or have a long drive home. This will help the produce maintain freshness from the farmers’ market to your kitchen table.

Happy shopping!

America First Credit Union kicks off the new season with low-rate auto loans, daily prizes during “The Sweet Taste of Summer”

For Immediate Release:

Riverdale, UTAH (June 20, 2017)

The summer season is officially underway and Utah’s largest credit union, America First Credit Union, is celebrating with low-rate auto loans for its members all season long. “The Sweet Taste of Summer” also offers 60 days of no payments on all new auto loans and gives members a chance to win loan payments up to $300 and interest-free auto loans with daily drawings.

Helping members cool down in the summer sun, America First will park its newly-branded ice cream truck on-site at various community events throughout Utah, celebrating “The Sweet Taste of Summer” with popsicle treats for attendees.

America First is Utah’s leading car loan provider with low interest percentages and affordable monthly payments. To join in on “The Sweet Taste of Summer,” get a low-rate auto loan online at www.americafirst.com or by calling 1-800-999-3961.

The contest runs now through August 31, 2017. Members can receive one entry for every $1,000 financed through the campaign dates. Winners will be selected daily, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older. Visit the nearest America First branch to be financed and entered to win. For more information and official rules, visit www.americafirst.com, find America First Credit Union on Facebook, Twitter, or follow @AmericaFirst on Instagram and Pinterest.

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About America First Credit Union:
As the largest credit union in the state of Utah, America First boasts a long-standing history and 78 years servicing members and has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country while remaining a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 123 locations and is the 11th largest credit union in assets in the United States with more than $8.8 billion and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 846,000 members.

Contact:

America First Credit Union
Nicole Cypers
C: 801-726-9480
ncypers@americafirst.com

Quillin Advertising, Public Relations & Social Media
Melanie Devries
D: 702-506-0828
mdevries@quillinlv.com

financial tips

Financial Tips from Fathers

Father’s Day is approaching, and since we had such a good time talking about money with moms, we decided to ask some local dads for some advice. We hope you enjoy these financial tips from fathers.

Rob

Live within your means — spend less than you earn. Avoid debt like the plague that it can be. Always set aside at least some savings from each paycheck. Learn to be happy within your means — it’s actually quite easy to be happy on any income and it’s nearly impossible to be happy when burdened by debt. You always have a car payment. If not to your financial institution, then to yourself. Cars depreciate and eventually are worth nothing. If you have been making a car payment to yourself, then you can pay cash for your next car. Don’t ever be fooled into thinking that you don’t have a car payment.

Doug

Give 10% to charity. Put 10% in savings. Add 10% to retirement. Live on the rest.

Dave

Buy a vehicle you can afford and do your own auto repairs. Don’t go into a lot of debt.

Spencer

Set aside 10% of your income to invest in a no-load, no transaction fee Index Fund (such as the S&P 500). If you invest just $100 per month at an average of 8% interest over 30 years, your $36,000 investment would be worth $105,761.32. Let your money work hard for you.

Chris

Do not spend it before you have it. Be patient.

Mark

Avoid debt at all costs. Learn how to make and follow a budget early — it will help you understand how you spend your money and assist you with spending and saving goals. Make a commitment early to always save 10%. Set thresholds you will never go below as you meet savings goals.

David

Most children learn by doing. Give them the opportunity to manage their own money. As they grow older, but before they leave for college, they should have more and more opportunities. Give them the responsibility to purchase certain things for themselves, such as clothes and personal hygiene items. If the child does not have the funds, don’t bail them out. Allow children to purchase things even if it looks like a total waste of money. That is how they will learn. Better to let them learn young than when they have a spouse and children of their own.

America First Credit Union, Utah’s largest credit union, opens Mt. Nebo branch location

Riverdale, UTAH (June 12, 2017) – Utah’s largest credit union, America First Credit Union, opened its newest location on June 5, providing its trusted services to the Nephi community at 965 N. Main St. The location is one 123 locations serving Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Arizona. The grand opening, beginning Monday, June 12 through, Saturday, June 17, will be marked with celebratory events throughout the week including daily drawings for a $100 visa gift card and a grand prize drawing for an iPad.

“We are very excited to have a new branch to better service our community,” said Carleen Sperry, branch manager. “The new Nebo Market Branch offers extended hours, drive-thru servies and a drive-up ATM, providing a seamless banking experience for our members.”

Sperry began a career in financial serviecs nearly 30 years ago as a teller, joining America First Credit Union in 2010. She has lived in Nephi since 1995 and has four sons, one daughter and 10 grandchildren.

The Nebo Market Branch is located at 965 N Main St., Nephi, UT 84648. Branch hours are 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For more information, visit www.americafirst.com, America First Credit Union on Facebook, Twitter, @AmericaFirst on Instagram and Pinterest.

# # #

About America First Credit Union:
As the largest credit union in the state of Utah, America First boasts a long-standing history and 78 years servicing members and has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country while remaining a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 123 locations and is the 11th largest credit union in assets in the United States with more than $8.8 billion and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 846,000 members.

Contact:

America First Credit Union
Nicole Cypers
C: 801-726-9480
ncypers@americafirst.com

Quillin Advertising, Public Relations & Social Media
Melanie Devries
D: 702-506-0828
C: 702-303-7160
mdevries@quillinlv.com

build a house

When to Buy & When to Build a House

If you want to move, the question of buying an existing home or constructing a new one is probably on your mind. The truth is, there is no quick or easy answer. It depends on many factors, including time, money and your wants & needs. Here are a few pros and cons to help you decide if you should buy or build a house.

TIME

If your schedule is tight because you’re relocating for work or your kids are about to start school, then buying is probably best. Once you find the right place, which can take a while, you can usually close and move in after two months.

Building usually takes six to seven months, but the process can be longer if the land, weather or contractor don’t cooperate. And if you sell your existing house before construction is finished, you may have to find temporary accommodations.

MONEY

Purchasing a home comes with lower initial costs. Plus, you likely won’t pay for expensive landscaping because the grass, rocks & other features are established. Mature trees, for example, add property value and can help with air-conditioning bills.

Up-front costs for new housing are higher than resales in most cases. If you build, however, you’ll benefit from up-to-date wiring, plumbing and HVAC systems. You won’t worry about repairing an old furnace or replacing a roof, as most of these homes are under warranty for years after they’re finished. You’ll also save on utilities with the latest in energy-saving and eco-friendly enhancements.

WANTS & NEEDS

If you build, you can get exactly what you want. There are few, if any, concessions to make or design flaws to overcome — the home matches your personality. Yet when you buy used, you can visualize the floor plan because it’s already there. There’s no need to wait to see how it will all turn out.

Newer construction tends to be in developing areas, so you may be farther away from the center of town and your surroundings will change. There’s also things like water, sewer, gas, electric, cable and internet to consider.

On the other hand, you’re joining an established neighborhood when you buy pre-owned. You can talk to your potential neighbors and hear what they think of the area before deciding.

Whether you buy or to build, America First offers low-rate mortgages, construction, and lot loans to get your dream home going.

credit and debit cards

The Difference Between Credit and Debit Cards

The cards in your wallet may look the same, but there actually are some major differences between credit and debit cards. Understanding the difference between these two payment methods can help you avoid financial issues and even earn some extra money in the process.

Application

A debit card or check card is, essentially, a digital checkbook. It is tied directly to your financial account. When you make a purchase, it is subtracted from the amount you have. Most banks and credit unions will give you a debit card to access the funds in your checking or savings account. You can also purchase prepaid debit cards with a specified amount that you can reload, as needed.

Credit cards allow you to borrow money from the card issuer, which means that your application for a card must be approved by the financial institution. If you have bad credit or no credit, you might not be able to get a credit card, or your interest rate could be higher. Credit cards also influence your credit score — for better or for worse.

Utilization

Most debit cards require a PIN to make a purchase. This is a special code that authorizes the merchant to deduct money from your account. Normally, the only fees you have to worry about with a check card are overdraft fees — which occur when you try to spend more than you have. America First offers a free line of credit with our checking accounts to help you avoid costly overdraft fees.

Larger purchases with a credit card require a signature. And since a credit card is a loan, you will sometimes have to pay annual fees, over-limit fees or late-payment fees. However, credit cards also come with perks such as cash back, discounts and travel points. In fact, because of those types of reward programs, if you use your credit card wisely and pay the required balance each month, you can actually profit from your purchases.

Protection

A debit card offers less temptation to spend more than you have because it’s linked to your bank account. However, this also means that if if your card is stolen and your PIN is compromised, someone could have direct access to the funds in your account. It is important to report lost or stolen credit and debit cards as soon as possible.

If you are responsible in your spending and pay off your balance regularly, a credit card is, essentially, an interest-free loan. Many credit cards offer extended warranties on purchases made with the card. You can also get automatic rental car insurance and life insurance when you use your credit card while traveling.

America First offers zero-liability protection against fraudulent purchases on both our credit and debit cards. We will alert you if we see any suspicious activity on your account and work with you to get problems resolved as quickly as possible. We also offer protective services such as Card Guard® and free identity theft recovery to help you take control and make sure that you feel safe and secure no matter which type of card you’re using.

Security Update: Don’t Let your Virtual Guard Down this Summer

Although many of us are more carefree and active during the summer season, we’re still constantly online. And every Internet connection your make—whether you’re shopping for some camping gear or using social media to connect with friends on the weekend, you’re vulnerable to cyberattacks. Follow these tips to help avoid problems:

 Create smart, strong passwords. Incorporate capital letters, numbers & symbols in your phrase that should be more than six characters long, such as: Go1dM!n3.

Email wisely. Be careful about what you provide in these messages. Never send your credit card information, Social Security number, or other private data via email.

 Same goes with IM. If you use instant messaging to communicate with friends and family, the same rules apply. And it’s always a good idea not to allow strangers in your IM groups.

 Shop safely. If you’re ordering from an online store, be sure the site is secure. At checkout, look for the web address to begin with https. Also, see if a tiny padlock symbol appears at the bottom right of the screen.

 Pay attention to your kids’ activities. Keep your home computer in a community area for easy monitoring. Use child software that is age-appropriate. Limit the time they spend online. Install and use parental controls.

And you can always click here to learn more about protecting your resources.

Cherish Great People, Great Times and Great Memories

By John B. Lund, President & Chief Executive Officer

It’s hard to believe 2017 is nearly halfway over. The year has brought some wonderful occurrences and I have much for which I am grateful. I also experienced significant sadness and heartache. Both my brother and my youngest sister passed away unexpectedly within a month of each other.

During Memorial Day weekend, I visited their graves and those of other loved ones. While doing so, I paused with appreciation to think of the good times, lessons learned, and recollections that will last forever.

Our extended family has vacationed on a houseboat at Lake Powell for many years. These are precious memories, cherished by all. I owe my brother gratitude for getting us there in the first place and keeping the tradition going for so many years.

My sister was tremendously charitable and knew how to care for those hurting or suffering. Decades ago, I had major surgery that kept me in a body cast for six months. She instinctively knew what I needed, just how to care for me, and for her I will always be grateful.

Reflecting on my family always prompts amazement at my maternal grandmother and the changes she witnessed during her lifetime. Born in 1898 and passing away in 2000, there are probably not too many folks who lived through three different centuries! She saw the first automobiles being developed, listened to the radio in its infancy, watched the first generation of TVs, endured multiple wars, and lived through the Great Depression. She was additionally there for the tremendous advances & progress our country made in science, medicine, space exploration, technology, and countless other areas. There were many trials in her life, but she always remained positive and optimistic.

When my grandmother was in her late nineties, I once asked her what attributes contributed to her longevity. Without hesitation, she said, “Don’t worry about things you can’t control; and if you need to shed a tear, do it quickly and move on.” What profound advice from such a wise woman. We all have family, friends, teachers and others who influenced us for the better. My advice is to thank them while you still can and continue honoring them by how we live.

At America First, our mission is to simplify our members’ busy lives, save them money, and be a positive contributor to our communities. We strive to be more than an institution that accepts deposits, processes transactions, and provides loans. We want to be your full-service partner, helping you realize your financial dreams. We can assist you in developing budgets, establishing systematic savings programs, and responsibly managing debt. When borrowing is necessary, we offer great rates and terms. Choose us for guidance to plan your retirement, gain insurance coverage, make transactions in the manner you prefer, get the best in Visa® rewards, benefit from free mobile banking, and accomplish additional goals.

Further enhancements and offerings will be announced over the coming months. Thank you for the trust you place in America First Credit Union. We will continue working hard to deserve a lifelong relationship with you and your family.

wedding

Planning a Wedding Without Debt

Priceless weddings can oftentimes end up being, well, pretty pricey. However, it’s possible to create a memorable and beautiful wedding without going into debt. Here are some ways to make your big day special without breaking the bank.

Building a budget

Research the average price of everything you need and want at your wedding. Prioritize your list to determine which elements are most important, what costs less, and which things you can do without.

Vetting the venue

If you’re having a reception, it doesn’t have to be extravagant. Consider an inexpensive location, such as a church hall, the local rec center, a nice backyard, even your home. You can also have the ceremony and reception in one place. Or you can skip it altogether and plan a small dinner with family and close friends.

Considering the catering

Local restaurants are unique and usually more affordable than professional caterers. You can serve fewer courses or choose a different entrée. If children are attending, have dishes like macaroni & cheese or peanut butter sandwiches just be them. They’ll be happier with these options and they’re less expensive!

Finding the flowers

Flowers are usually one of the highest-priced wedding decorations. Instead, use candles or lanterns for your centerpieces or make flowers from fabric or crepe-paper. If you do go to a florist, stay local, choose something in season, and discuss your budget with them.

Inventing the invitations

Rather than hiring someone to design your invitations, look online for customizable designs at reasonable prices. Or create the invites yourself and have an assembly party with friends to stuff the envelopes. Remember, liners and vellum overlays look fancy, but aren’t necessary.

Deciding on the dresses

Check local classifieds to see if there are any used gowns you love. Or think about renting from a bridal shop. You can also look online to make alterations to a dress you have or design one from scratch. Choose a neutral color for the bridesmaids, so they can find something already in their closets.

Hatching the honeymoon

The honeymoon is all about spending quality time with your spouse, so it doesn’t have to be lavish. Try saving on airfare by staying at a nice hotel or resort within driving distance. Make sure you book as early as possible to get the best rates. Wherever you go, let people know it’s your honeymoon, as hotel employees will often go the extra mile to ensure a lovely stay.

America First also offers wedding savings accounts. This are convenient and easy options for your guests and they’ll help you gather resources for your future financial needs as newlyweds.

New app makes banking easy

America First always strives to be a leader in adopting technology to help members meet their financial needs. They say that by updating the application, America First differentiates themselves from other financial institutions in the industry, while also providing members with the tools to achieve their financial goals and create a customized user experience. The app has all of the great features as old versions, as well as some very noteworthy new ones. Members will still be able to take advantage of Mobile Deposit, Popmoney, Transfers, ABC Deals, Bill Pay, and Loans. Mobile Banking now supports Touch ID/Fingerprint Authentication for logging in. Members will also have the ability to add accounts from other financial institutions and stay on top of their finances with Net Worth, Budgets and Spending.

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